When you have acquired a taste for dust,
The scent of our first rain,
you're hooked on Africa for life
And you will not be right again
Until you can watch the setting moon
And hear the jackals bark
And know they are around you,
Waiting in the dark.

When you long to see the elephants,
Or to hear the coucal's song
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire
You have been away too long.
It's time to cut the traces loose
And let your heart go free
Beyond that far horizon
Where your spirit yearns to be.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

letters to and from

Sergio, his Car, and his Chicken
drawn by Orlando Jordao, Matsopane School

Head Teacher, Senor Machal receives the sheaf of letters and photos from Amanda 
Lucas (left) acts as interpreter for me
We are back from a quick run to Mozambique.  This time, I had two rather special packages to deliver to Matsopane School.  The first was an envelope containing a sheaf of letters written to the children of Matsopane school by a group of primary school children in Missouri, USA.  Inspired, motivated and collected by the lovely Amanda  you can read more about the school project she put together here .

the American letters; photo cribbed from Amanda's blog post
(hope thats ok Amanda??)

Included with the letters were some postcards of her hometown, maps of USA and the World to put the distance in context; pictures of Amanda, and her friends who assisted with translating the children's questions into Portuguese. Altogether a wonderful, magical, long arm of friendship reaching out across the miles.

handing out pencils and gifts from Geli 

The second package, was a pile of stationary from Geli including  paper, exercise books, pencils, pens, crayons, sharpeners, erasers, more pencils and more crayons - oh and i added in some balloons, and a packet of magic wands. Everything required for sending replies to the letters.

inside the schoolroom built by bloggers

On my previous visit, we had handed over funds to make benches for the new schoolroom. Here they are being put to full use.  The cement floor has yet to be thrown, and Lucas decided to build out of local materials rather than bricks and mortar as it is much cooler and more suitable to the tropical climate.  It is the smartest schoolroom on the acre of sand and thats for sure!  

the very smart and sturdy benches funded by us all
made out of teak wood which should last forever
The cement floor is still in the pipeline apparently.

All the children crowded around us as we handed over the letters and stationary packages.  Some played a game of grandmothers footsteps behind my back, running and giggling whenever I turned round. It was hard not to play but to stay focussed on the conversation with their Head Teacher.

Senor Machal  was very happy with the letters and stationary package 

children receiving pencils and stationary from dear Geli 
with which to draw the Letters of Reply

I think the writing is done by the teachers, thus the children seem to have answered the questions with pictures rather than words - but every picture tells a story! You can clearly see the tin roofs, and the reed walls which are the most usual, and practical, form of building for this environment - even if they dont last forever.

fish by Fabio Vilanculos


  1. W O N D E R F U L !!!!!
    I love their pics

    WELL DONE Val xxxxxx

  2. I really enjoyed to visit this blog..great work!


  3. Oh, I love their pictures also! Successful visit, Val! Without you, nothing of this would have happened!
    No brick walls – so what? There is a new school room WITH A ROOF, and there are desks and benches. There are even two blackboards, and now there are crayons and pencils and stationery again, and footballs and magic wands, what else is there to ask for? I am very happy for “our” children, and won`t they be delighted to study the maps and the letters which they got from so far away?! Oh Val, I would have loved to play grandmother`s footsteps with them, behind your back!
    comment from Angela of

    Thank you for all your dedication, Val, and thanks to all our friends, too, who take interest and donate and just want to know… Amanda, Mandy, Janet, Lori, Karen, Barbara, Mina, Filomena, no end! I do believe that each one of you with your special effort has changed the lives of these children on the coast of Mozambique. Isn`t that a wonderful thought?

  4. ok that comment was really from Angela of

  5. hey Maddy - thanks for stopping by!

  6. suffice it to say i was stunned by the package i received from val filled with drawings from the mastopane students in reply to the kids from the school here in the states. the images were so intricate and told such a compelling story about life in mozambique. being a mini ambassador between these two schools is a privilege. it's been a blessing to be able to witness this long distance connection filled with love and hope.

    heartfelt thanks to geli for her donations and to val for continuing to be this little school's link to the outside world.


  7. Dear Angela, having commented on Amanda posts, I guess you know how I feel about these beautiful sentiments expressed in this post.
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment and kind visit, I am so happy you stopped by.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours and hope to see you around again,